More Rain Expected In Micronesia As Search For Chata'an Fatalities Continues

WENO, Chuuk (Radio New Zealand International): July 5, 2002 - More rain is expected this weekend in the Federated States of Micronesia as emergency officials continue to tally the cost of a devastating tropical storm that struck Chuuk state earlier this week.

Chata'an lashed Chuuk for two days with winds of up to 112 kilometers (about 67 miles), torrential rain and high seas, which destroyed coastal villages and caused landslides.

The Chuuk Disaster Office says the confirmed death toll is now 33 but that the number will rise.

Disaster coordinator Erick Paul says ten people are missing and he holds no hope they will be found alive.

John Sound from the Disaster office says the further rain will impede efforts to rescue those trapped by the landslides.

"Some of these places have continued to slide down. I went to Tonoas [...] one of the slides went from 400 to 500 meters (about 1,320 to 1,650 feet) long and 200 to 300 meters (about 660 to 990 feet) wide and carried the houses down and buried them.

"We are trying to find out how many are in [...] school buildings. They are just homeless [...] the clothes they have on are all they have," he said.

State officials in the FSM are appealing for international aid.